What leaders must know about branding and the Vampire Effect | Corporality Global

As Cristiano Ronaldo sat down for the pre-match press conference, he inadvertently removed two bottles of Coca-Cola and said “Agua”, meaning water in Portuguese. That was not all. More disrelish followed when he muttered “coca cola” under his breath and rolled his eyes in disgust. While anti-obesity campaigners praised the move, the show of contempt only plummeted the stocks of one of the world’s most popular brands. The company’s share price dropped to $55.22 by 1.6% and market value nosedived to $238bn from $242bn – a drop of $4bn.

In the case of Ronaldo, a celebrity had overshadowed the pitch – this is also called the Vampire Effect.
Business leaders and brand managers are all for using celebrities for advertisements. But these personalities may end up dominating the brand, impairing brand recall. Marketers refer to this overshadowing as the vampire effect. Most brands are convinced by the effectiveness of celebrity endorsements, while others are concerned about the appropriate returns on those investments.
However, brand recall is a prerequisite for marketing success because recollection increases the likelihood of the product or service becoming a part of the consumers’ set of considerations. Buyers may also make heuristic purchase decisions in low involvement conditions. At the same time, there are several pitfalls involved in celebrity endorsements.

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It is rather ill-advised to use celebrities just for the sake of using one. Before adopting personality endorsements, brands must check if the celebrity’s appearance can indeed influence the brand. Another issue is that when a star has multiple endorsements, there is a tendency for the consumer to get confused. But celebrities do not partner with brands to have things purposefully go wrong.

Questions you must ask before seeking celebrity endorsements:

  • Is celebrity endorsement the best way to build a brand?
  • Should this be the principal channel of marketing and brand communications?
  • What are the advantages of such endorsements?
  • Can the celebrity enhance the image of the brand? If so, how?
  • Is an endorsement by a star beneficial to the brand?

Here are some steps recommended by us to ensure that your brand celebrity endorsement remains safeguarded.

Exemplifying the brand

When celebrities endorse a brand, they automatically enhance its value and even act as spokespersons, certifying its usage. The endorsement also extends the personality’s status and expertise in the field. Traditionally, celebrity endorsements were meant to be distinctive. Today, aspiring brands are just jumping into the celebrity bandwagon to give a quasi-industry stature. As a result, most collaborations remain unsuccessful. Brands must meet some basic principles for the endorsement to make a difference.


Brands can expect a positive impact when the endorser is attractive. Certain aspects of physical appearance, athletic competence, and lifestyle appeal to the audience—the more attractive the celebrity, the better the memorability. If the endorser appears beautiful, the chances are that the brand’s popularity and recall are both enhanced.


The integrity of a celebrity is vital to the publicity of the brand. Therefore, any brand-celebrity collaboration involves an audience that is constantly examining personal trustworthiness. It is more like the ‘practice what you preach’ approach. This means the individual sends external cues to the audience that they have benefited from consuming that product or service. As a result, brand clutter is eliminated, and customers can sift through various products to choose the most reliable one.

For instance, Nike withdrew its endorsement contracts in 2013 with Oscar Pistorius, when his credibility was seriously questioned.

Compatibility between the brand and the celebrity

A meaningful transfer must occur between the brand and the star, a principle that heavily focuses on the personality positioning of the product in the market against competitors. It may also include lifestyle aspects of the celebrity instrumental in propelling the brand towards the consumers.

The star must understand the brand

One of the ultimate marketing goals is to ensure that the celebrity trulyindeed understands the endorsement and actively participates in brand management. The process will also allow the team to adjust opportunities that come their way, whether it’s a casual conversation in the street or a formal interview. A complete understanding of the product and its functionality can increase the chance of everyday usage.

Endorsing competitive makes

Before a celebrity embarked on endorsing a brand, they must have been using a rival product. Have your team check if any conflicts might occur since the propagations are different this time around.


Especially when celebrities are booked for other productions and endorsements, brands must ensure exclusivity. Once blocked by you, the star should not certify for competition. This can only confuse the minds of the consumers, who areis always keenly looking for brand reliability.

Other important aspects

While meeting all of the above criteria, certain other viewpoints such as long-term commitment, public image monitoring of the celebrity, and choosing unique endorsers play a significant role in easing the vampire effect. In addition, as discussed earlier, endorsements by celebrities can have a strong influence on the thought process of the consumer, where strong positive perceptions are created.


The answer to whether celebrity endorsements really work lies in the brain. Our minds do not differentiate between reality and make-believe only because celebrities are familiar. When a well-known face endorses a product, the product becomes familiar too. This is precisely what makes people buy it. So, what CEOs must do is avoid the most common pitfalls that celebrity endorsements bring along with them, such as the vampire effect. Corporality Global is a renowned Australian branding and marketing company that makes sure that your brand message and celebrity are compatible with achieving your long-term marketing goals.

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